Kristen Bell Reveals Item in Kids' Lunch That 'Rarely Comes Back' and How They Avoid Sugary Drinks (Exclusive)

Kristen Bell Reveals Item in Kids' Lunch That 'Rarely Comes Back' and How They Avoid Sugary Drinks (Exclusive)

Kristen Bell is teaming up with Michelle Obama to keep families healthy and happy about their food and drink choices.

The Frozen actress, 43, is teaming up with PLEZi Nutrition — the Public Benefit Company co-founded by the former First Lady — as an investor, advocate and brand partner.
"I am a mom, so in my current life, I gravitate towards all things mom. In general, I'm paying attention to what my kids are consuming and because of that, I have tried to research the best things to put in their bodies," Bell tells PEOPLE.
The mom of two — Delta, 9, and Lincoln, 11, whom she shares with husband Dax Shepard —  says that PLEZi's offerings are an answer to the "constant impasse" she finds herself at with her kids.

Bell explains she was alarmed when she learned that, according to the American Heart Association, the average child consumes 53 lbs. of added sugar per year.

"That's really not a cute look," she emphasizes. "Particularly when I'm packing lunches, I am fatigued with discussing what should be in the lunches with my children. Because I would like fruits and vegetables and they see a lot of stuff at school and always want to add candy and chips, and lately, they have been requesting juice boxes."

She continues, "I don't want them to be in a constant glucose spike, not just for their health but because children are harder to deal with when they're spiking on sugar. So I was able to buy some PLEZi, give it to my kids and truly the flat that I bought was gone within 48 hours — not just because they drank it but because they were taking it to school to trade it."
The drinks were a hit with her kids and their friends, who, she joked, were trading them in "a big black market trading system on the playground that involves gummy bears and Cheetos."
"The PLEZis were a hot ticket item! They were bringing like six at a time in their backpacks. I settled that down, but I did start putting them in my kids' lunch boxes and they were thrilled. It tastes great, which is big because they will not eat anything they don't think is palatable. So I can put as much broccoli in their lunch as I want — it's just going to come back at the end of the day."
Bell continues, "With the PLEZis, there's 75% less sugar, and two grams of fiber, which is going to slow the glucose from their system anyway. So it was really the perfect solution, because I had looked at other juice boxes and I just wasn't down with putting an extra 20 grams of sugar in their lunchboxes."
PLEZi FiZZ will launch in three flavors: Cherry Limeade, Lemon Lime Squeeze, and Strawberry Lemonade, and will be available for purchase across Amazon and select convenience stores and club stores starting this Spring.
Working with Mrs. Obama is a big deal for Bell, who has sought her guidance as a mom and admired her as a woman.
"I've been a long-time admirer of the former First Lady's work. She is so welcoming and educational about her messaging. She makes it so fun and that's why she's gotten a lot done," she shares.
"I've learned a lot from her. To be honest, it's an honor to help her continue her efforts to make healthier options for kids and families all across America. That's something she pays unique attention to, which I really respect," Bell says.
Replacing trendy sugary drinks helps eliminate "where kids receive a lot of the added sugar in their diet," Bell notes.
"Then, their palates grow up expecting added sugar, which leads to health risks that no one wants to consider. Starting kids early with less sugar in their diet, I think, is brilliant."

PLEZi also has plans to continue engaging with parents and caregivers to answer questions, "just like the former First Lady has done for me as a mom for many years."

Bell is proud to say that along with PLEZi, she's had another big lunchbox victory.
"Thankfully, red pepper is still on the menu, so there's half a red pepper in everybody's lunch every single day, and it rarely comes back. I'll start there by patting myself on the back because I'm very excited about that," she shares.

Her best attempts don't always play out, she admits, as she points to a situation the other day.

"For breakfast this morning, we made egg sandwiches and then they both had two bites of cheesecake behind my back right before they left the house," she laughs. "I'm trying! But it is hard."
Other lunchbox staples include, "avocados, which are a great way for them to get a little extra nutrition and really healthy fats. They usually always have something crunchy in their lunch just to get through it — whether that's pretzels or potato chips, that depends on the day."
"I very rarely, slide in a sugary snack, like a piece of chocolate or some gummy bears, because I don't want to be restrictive by any means. I want them to feel like eating food is fun," she notes. "But at the same time, I want them to know that it needs to be good for the building blocks of their bodies."
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